Monday, August 21, 2006

Three Years

Yoshi has been with us for three years already. Suffice it to say that he has since changed all our lives drastically. Before he came along Ches and I could sleep long and late when we had no work, without this massive force riding on our tummies or backs and pulling on our arms or legs screaming for play already, leaving us with no choice but to be wide awake in an instant. Before, we could spend our free time doing whatever we felt like – in peace and quiet reading our books or sharing the newspaper, going on road trips to visit quaint churches and parks and restos, or staying up late just hanging out with our friends. We didn’t have to spend all our waking hours looking after this little person who could climb everywhere and make everything come crashing down and throw anything in the toilet bowl in the blink of an eye. When we went to buy groceries, we didn’t linger unnecessarily in the shampoo department like a couple of loons with some strange fetish. When we ate out, our main criterion for choosing the place was NOT whether it had big slides and multi-colored balls and stuff to amuse us. And the TV played something OTHER THAN Barney and Mr. Bean.

Oh but if Yoshi hadn’t come along, the bed would’ve been too big for just Ches and me. Now we wake up with this cute little human being between us greeting us with a hearty “Hi, Mommy!”, “Hi, Daddy!” without fail. Before, only the dogs perked up with the slightest hint of interest when we came home from work - now we have this squealing bundle of delight whose overflowing happiness at seeing us is enough to dispel whatever stresses we might have had in the office.

Ches and I could always manage to make each other laugh – me with my dry wit and maldita na panlalait, and Ches with his bordering on slapstick kind of humor, complete with impersonation and movements. But our laughter is merrier now that the jokes come from a toddler who’s not even trying to be funny. And the hugs and kisses. I’ll bear and deliver and raise 10 more babies if it means I’ll never have to run out of tight hugs and slobbering kisses for another 10 years. I could be plopped down on the floor all graceless and stinky after spending hours trying to put a semblance of order into his clothes and toys and books, and Yoshi needs no reason at all to come and hug me from behind and kiss me full on the lips.

These are what you need a toddler in your life for – to love you even when you’ve done nothing to deserve it, to open your eyes to the wonder and beauty all around if you’d only stop taking everything for granted, to make you feel that all is good in the world, that there’s enough hope and fun and love to go around.

If not for Yoshi we would never even have heard of Sandara and Sam Milby. And what kind of a life would we have if we don’t know Sandara and Sam Milby? Dark, empty, meaningless.

No doubt about it, Yoshi has wreaked havoc into our lives. On the bright side, it’s all rather perfect

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Chocoholic Two

You might be a chocoholic if

...you’ve ever fantasized about being encased in a block of chocolate and eating your way free.

… you’ve ever had to give out little baggies of noodles for Halloween bcoz you’ve eaten all the fun size candy bars.

… you’ve ever licked all the chocolate frosting off a donut and then put it back on the tray trying to pass it off as ‘glazed’.

… there is an entry in your household budget for chocolate, and it’s three figures.

… you stash chocolate in different rooms so you’re never far from it.

(from Chocoholic Reasonettes by Sherrie Weaver)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Shopaholic Two

If there’s one place that can make me feel like Christmas all around, it has got to be the Greenhills tiangge. Any given day you can go there and end up with treasures so lovely and unexpected it’s almost like coming home laden with gifts that are your just rewards for being a good girl all year.

You can find anything in Greenhills. It was where I got these three big frames that adorn my living room, inside of which are dried flowers, leaves and twigs personally arranged by this bubbly woman on a wheelchair. It was also where I found Care Bears boylegs that they’d never sell in the cartoon character section of the department store. Yoshi loves it when I wear them and cannot resist pointing to Grumpy Bear and Funshine Bear and Love-a-Lot Bear and naming all their colors too. It was also where I bought this flowing, red halter dress that I didn’t even bother to try on but which fit me just right. Gosh, I feel almost single again when I wear this dress.

The best thing about Greenhills is the sheer variety of it. You can be looking at embroidered satin purses and other Oriental-inspired whatzits in one stall, and the next stall could be offering beaded bags and wooden vases and thingamabobs that are exactly what you would find in Bangkok. Of course I also patronize the homegrown Pinoy products – everything from baby tees with such clever slogans that I wish I’d thought of myself, to picture frames made of capiz shells, and the pesto dip and chicharon and yema and other foodies in the center of the tiangge.

I was obsessed with chandeliers last year. I bought easily half a dozen in as many trips. I also used to splurge on export overrun Baby Gap and Osh Kosh and Carter’s stuff for Yosh, before he started growing into the Michelin mascot right before my eyes. This year, thanks to my effervescent taebo teacher, I have this compulsion to hoard anything gym-related - Hollister jogging pants, Abercrombie tank tops, Hilfiger sweaters. Last weekend I found Powerpuff socks and Spongebob undies that are just right for me. I was so happy I almost broke into a dance. I told Ches, I just have to blog about this. Of course, he had to reply with something predictably boring, like why don’t you write something with social significance for a change.

Social significance? Haven’t I just been promoting free trade and small and medium scale enterprises and Philippine economy here? Hel-lo.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

My One True Love

Ches and I have been married four years today. We’ve been together for 11 years and friends for 14 long years. That’s just one year less than half our lives (gasp!).

Funny but my first memory of him was when Jen and I saw him paying for junk food in the SM grocery. He was among the guys in our PolSci block who never seemed to spend any minute studying and who don’t even bother to attend class and just spent hour after hour playing tong-its and puffing away in their tambayan by the CASAA railings. Oh but we loved them bcoz they were always willing to tutor us on math and history and always sent us into giggling fits when it was their turn to recite or make a presentation say in Espanol or Kasaysayan with the way they made perfect fools of themselves.

He was one of The Boys with whom I watched movies and shared countless long lunches and snacks and often even dinners and talked nonstop while walking aimlessly all around the campus and traded notes during class right under the professor’s nose. He got me drunk a day after Valentine’s in third year, to tell me that he’s fallen in love with me. I made him wait six months before I said, ok … sige na nga. (I so enjoyed being the sought-after female.)

Of course it wasn’t always blissful. We fought like an average of once a week and had major break-ups maybe thrice a year. They were truly heart-rending and tearjerking times while we were at it, but they all seem so laughable now, so full of useless drama. And anyway, we kept getting back to each other, until we promised to stay together forever when we got married. (Can I help it if this guy won’t let go of me bcoz he’s obsessed with my body?)

I was always writing about Ches especially around our anniversary but also when he does or says something that touches me or about our wedding or for no reason at all. And as I write this I realize these are actually the best times of our life together so far – we’re living on our own with a baby who never fails to make us laugh and leave us astounded with his ideas, earning enough to afford weekend junkets and our usual travels, and being able to come home from work just in time to share an early dinner together while we laugh or bitch (usually from my end) about our day. These are my favorite parts of the day – seeing Yosh jumping in glee the minute I enter the gate and then dinner with Ches when he gets home.

I love Ches bcoz he drove all the way to Pangasinan from Tarlac to look for me over the Christmas break that year we started going out, bcoz he brought me a mammoth bouquet of lavender mums for no reason at all while I was studying in the law library and everyone looked up from their SCRAs to smile, bcoz he’s the most hands-on daddy I know, changing nappies and washing up after poopoos and until now waking up in the middle of the night to put Yosh back to sleep when he’s had a bad dream, bcoz he does the most credible imitation I’ve heard of Ernie’s (from Sesame Street) guffaw, bcoz he has this knack of coming up with the exact word or info I’m looking for when I’m blogging or just telling stories…and bcoz of 60 million other things no six of which I doubt that Hugh Grant will ever be able to do.

I remember Gay’s little speech at our wedding reception. She narrated how even after the most mind-boggling exams in law school I would completely light up when Ches came to pick me up, as tho he brought the sunshine in with him. She remembered what I used to say, that the other girls might get all the high grades and wear all the nice clothes, but I’m the one who has Ches.

And God has just been truly good to me bcoz, after all these years, I’m still the girl who has Ches.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Saturdays

I love Saturday mornings when Ches attends his in-search-of-a-better-life SpEd classes in UP, coz then I can have Yoshi all to myself. This happens too on week nights coz I usually get home an hour or two earlier than Ches. But Saturdays are the best bcoz they’re long and free and as Yoshi is fond of saying, “It’s so fun!”

When Ches leaves I have no choice but to wake up already bcoz Yoshi rides my tummy and says over and over, “No sleep, Mommy!” But we’d usually lie on the bed for another hour, just telling stories – about Dumbo or the latest Vaseline commercial or this little girl named Sachi from Lolo’s place from whom Yosh stole a kiss. I used to make the mistake of asking him where he wanted to go for the weekend, but he invariably came up with somewhere easily affordable like Bora or something, so I learned my lesson and just told stories. Sometimes we’d listen to the never-ending Barney songs, and sing along with our favorites like Boom Boom Ain’t It Great to be Crazy or Skip to My Lou or Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay. If we were really inspired we’d even get up and dance and hop around just like the kids do in the videos. I know I’ve had an overdose of this madness when I take a shower and find myself belting out Baby Bop’s bath song (“Oh when you’re splashing around, it is nice to pretend, you’re a fish or a froggie or a duck, quack! quack!”)

Breakfast is when I often have my most stimulating conversation for the entire week. In the span of time that it takes me to take one gulp of pineapple juice, Yosh has asked the following questions:

“Bakit wala kang shorts?”
“Can I have more cheese, Mommy?”
“Where’s my Tita Jenny?”
“Why did you borrow Daddy’s slippers?”
“Ano’ng name ng pancake na to?”
“What happened to the evil witch?”
“Can I have more cheese, please?”

I try to get away with a wise and all-knowing nod and “Hmmm…” in reply to his twenty questions, but needless to say, this seldom works and only makes Yosh repeat everything and in a much louder voice, too. But unceasing interrogations notwithstanding, I derive great joy out of talking to the little guy bcoz of his bottomless cuteness and occasional brilliance. One morning as I was laying a thick spread of Nutella on my bread and he was gobbling down his bowl of Maggi, he proclaimed, “Mommy, you’re obsessed with chocolates and I’m obsessed with noodles.” This is also my chance to impart to him all-important, life-altering lessons, like saying No, please and Yes, thank you, and to tell Mommy if anyone hits him so Mommy can hit them right back.

After we eat he’d sometimes play on his own so I have time to do my mummy-wifey stuff like cleaning up his closet to weed away the clothes he’s outgrown the past week, or fix his pics in his albums. But then I rarely finish anything before he’s pulling on my arm again to make me join him as he piles Lego bricks or mashes his Play Doh or something. I’d try to cheat by reading a book or writing in my journal while he plays, but then he says “No reading, Mommy”, and “No writing, Mommy”, so then I’d feel guilty and be compelled to devote my full attention to whatever infinitely interesting game he’s up to.

When he gets as bored as I am, then it’s time for his bath. It turns into a major production when the weather’s nice and we can do it outside the house. The bather (me) and Garci the dog and Ginger the cat and her adopted friend Sugar often end up just as drenched as the bathee (Yosh) bcoz he makes sure to splash water on everyone. He’s almost unstoppable once he gets to playing with his shape-sorter boat that Ninong Rhoel gave him many Christmases ago or his family of rubber duckies that we brought all the way to Corregidor when he was barely a year old. He has this idea that bathtime is primarily playtime and my scrubbing his armpits and groins are simply a nuisance.

After freshening up he’d usually settle down with a bottle of milk and his Barney or Dora CDs, and this will be my chance to comb my hair or brush my teeth or other essential girl things that you have to forego when you’re playing the busy hands-on mum to a hyperactive toddler. When I’ve had my lunch and shower I love to join him on the mat (from Lola Donnie) and we’d sleep curled up beside each other until our driver comes home from school and takes us away to our weekend junkets.

I’d never trade my Saturday mornings with Yosh. Not for anything in the whole world.